Pioneer Place finances show improvement even as bailout request to the county remains in limbo

The status of a funding request by Pioneer Place to the Malheur County Court remains stalled for now but the nursing home has seen some increase in the number of clients who are using the facility, helping its long-term financial outlook. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell).

VALE – A request from Pioneer Place to the Malheur County Court for nearly $1 million to offset impacts of the Covid pandemic is in limbo.

The publicly-owned nursing home in Vale approached county commissioners in February to get $900,000 from the county’s allocation of the $1.9 billion American Rescue Plan Act but they took no action.

The request from Pioneer Place probably isn’t eligible for American Rescue Plan Act funds, said Dan Joyce, Malheur County judge.

“We have been trying to work through our senators to make adjustments on how the criteria is used or if there is a waiver for commissioners to use to make a decision,” Joyce said.

The county forwarded the request to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden’s office.

“We were supposed to talk to somebody from Wyden’s office but we haven’t heard,” said John Nalivika, a Pioneer Place board member.

The request was triggered after the nursing home suffered a significant drop in clients last year. While the assisted living census – the number of patients processed into the facility – remained steady, the number of clients in the nursing home, or skilled nursing side – dropped well below what was needed to cover losses.

In January, the skilled nursing census was 14. Capacity at Pioneer Place is about 29 people in the assisted living portion of the facility and 26 in the skilled nursing portion.

To offset the losses, Pioneer Place drained its emergency fund for $300,000 and secured $75,000 from a building fund, according to records from the facility that was shared with commissioners.

Since the initial request, the number of clients continued to increase, said Nalivka.

“We are in better shape. We are improving. The difference between now and a few months ago is pretty significant,” said Nalivka.

Nalivka said the facility was “able to get our census to 26 on the assisted living side and 21 on the skilled nursing side.”

“If we can hold that and get both up around 26 that is what you have to have,” said Nalivka.

For now, said Nalivka, Pioneer Place will move ahead while it seeks assistance from Wyden’s office on another funding stream.

“We haven’t pulled it back but maybe we will just say we will carry on,” he said.

News tip? Contact Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

Previous coverage:

Vale nursing home seeks big infusion of cash from county

Pioneer Place will seek financial help from voters in November

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